Division of Materials Engineering
2D composites with controlled nano-mechanisms
A long standing dogma in cell-based technologies is that bulk mechanical properties of solid substrates are essential to enable cell adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. However, the use of solid materials for cell culture constitutes an important hurdle for the scale up and automation of processes. We recently discovered that protein assembly at liquid-liquid interfaces results in mechanically strong protein layers sustaining cell spreading and directing fate decision. For long term culture, such interfaces lacked toughness and ruptured. This project will develop tough 2D nanocomposites assembled at oil-water interfaces and sustaining long term stem cell culture for applications in regenerative medicine.